Once again, the Bush administration is flimflamming the hapless Democratic majority in Congress into rushing an important piece of legislation into law without serious thought or debate about the implications.
Although Congress passed a temporary extension of the FISA law in August that carries it through to February, the administration is already back demanding the immediate passage of a permanent law that permits the government to snoop on all private communications.
They’ve also requested a few “improvements” to the law, including a retroactive waiver of liability for the big telecommunications companies that gave the government unfettered warrantless access to phone calls and e-mail communications in violation of existing law.
The other “improvements” that the White House wants, and our intelligence chiefs say they need, would broaden the already bloated power of the executive branch.
This, even as one member of Congress revealed this week that the temporary extension of the snooping law was jammed through in August when administration officials stampeded legislators by revealing secret information about an alleged terrorist plot to bomb the Capitol. Which, surprise, never materialized.
That was a good one. What will they do to frighten Congress this time? Threaten to send Osama bin Laden the home addresses of every member of Congress who opposes them?
He sounds like a very shrill unserious person.